Monday, July 6, 2020

Strawberry Fritters 1755

If you are able to get large strawberries, this sounds like a delightful recipe to try.  John Nott had a delicious fried beet recipe with a wine batter from 1723, so next year I'll try earlier to find some sturdy strawberries.    

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Free JSTOR and July virtual talks

JSTOR - Individual Account - free -100 articles per month through December 31, 2020.  It is a collection of scholarly journals, ebooks, and images HERE

Constantly updated post on upcoming virtual talks, workshops,  HERE

Monday, June 22, 2020

Fig lemonade

This is a lemonade for hot weather - like Switchel or Shrub - very tart (only 1T or a teaspoon of honey).  Alexis Soyer called it a "Cooling Lemonade" in 1849, and a later cookbook author named it "Picnic Lemonade."  The vivid pink color happens instantly when lemon juice is added to the liquid from boiling the figs and yellow of the lemon peels.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Historic cooking at home - Benjamin Franklin's recipes

The American Philosophical Society, founded in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, houses his papers, which include recipes in French. Gilbert Chiard compiled and translated the recipes in Benjamin Franklin on the Art of Eating, 1958.  Starting in May, the APS “invited scholars, public historians, and chefs with a range of interests to share their reflections on Franklin, his recipes, and the culture of the eighteenth-century Atlantic World over the coming weeks” on their BLOG.

Monday, June 8, 2020

A dozen favorite posts from the past

Some of my favorite topics over the last 11 years - from the conical strawberry pottles HERE to the most popular, Snap-apple at Halloween - were easy to list, since they are viewed the most. It was harder not to include many others. I even considered making it a "baker's dozen" ...

Monday, June 1, 2020

Volunteer to transcribe manuscript cookbook recipes

Handwritten documents - recipes, letters - are important for research.  You can help other researchers and libraries from your home computer by transcribing digitized manuscript cookbooks; thus making them easier to read and able to be searched.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day - Never forget

Remember those who served... and those still serving to protect us.


John Billings’ Hardtack and Coffee. Boston: 1887

Monday, May 18, 2020

"Food and Disruption" - free online Dublin Gastronomy Symposium

Although I have been adding new items as I find them to a post last month with 71 (and growing!) free online learning activities (reading, lectures) for the Quarantine HERE, this symposium should be of interest and noted again. It was terrific!

Monday, May 11, 2020

Muffin Pudding 1826

English Muffins (in this case from Hannah Glasse, changed slightly by Richard Briggs in 1796) can be made into a pudding layered with dried cherries. Rundell's 1826 baked version contained brandy and orange-flower water. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Bees from hive to branch to wooden hive

The bees are out enjoying all the dandelions from all the rain. This 1869 image depicts the "three classes of bees" and how the swarm leaves the beehive to "settle upon a limb" then placed in the wooden box. The author clearly was not allergic, boasting "no protection to face or hands."  Don't try this at home!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Stay-at-home online learning - reading & videos

Over 100 virtual food history talks, courses, webinars, cooking demos, workshops, tours and reading materials are being offered free for the quarantine.  THREE symposiums will be online.  Most, including the Oxford Symposium Proceedings and tapes of most talks, will continue to be freely available. I am adding other links as I find them, and if you know of any, please use "contact form" on right.  ENJOY!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Doctors' house calls and medicine

Doctors attended to the sick in their homes, but according to Rosalie Calvert of Maryland, "he makes us prepare all the remedies."  Many cookbooks during this period included "simple remedies."

Monday, April 6, 2020

White Rabbit Egg Dye for Easter Eggs

Since 1888, White Rabbit has been competing with Paas (founded 1880) packaged egg dyes.  The White Rabbit advertising included colorful graphics and lovely paper dye sheets. These 1899 ads are more colorful than Paas Egg Dye Co's advertising. Their web site is just as colorful and creative.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Mary Randolph and Thomas Jefferson

Mary Randolph Randolph was a distant cousin of Thomas Jefferson, as was her husband; and her brother married Jefferson's daughter.  There were other connections, and several false stories...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Mothering Sunday - Simnel cakes and furmety

Three weeks before Easter, in the middle of Lent, was Mothering Sunday, Mid-Lent Sunday or in Bury, England - Simnel Sunday. Simnel Cake (boiled then baked), Mothering Buns, Furmity and lamb.  

Monday, March 16, 2020

Saving snow in 18th century Naples for iced drinks and food

Snow instead of ice was used in Naples. The snow was stored in the "cliffs and caverns on the mountain of San Angelo, between Castell-a-Mare and Sorento."  Donkeys carried the snow down to boats then to Naples. The Bourbon kings of Naples felt they had to provide the snow for their subjects drinks or they would revolt.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Olio

Olio was an extravagant stew of many meats, vegetables, herbs and spices served in it's own "close-covered" cooking "olio pot."   Vincent La Chapelle, "Chief Cook" to the Earl of Chesterfield, included three recipes in his 1733 work The Modern Cook - one French Olio and two Spanish.  By the 1860s a Crab Olio was in two Maryland cookbooks - no meat, but crab, eggplant and tomatoes.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Making butter yellow

Winter butter was pale, but was enhanced with carrot juice, marigold, annato, turmeric and even egg yolks for selling in the cities.  "No one in the country will eat colored butter in winter except as the milk colors it."  The taste and color naturally improved when the cows ate grass instead of their winter diet of hay. More on grass butter HERE

Monday, February 17, 2020

Rumford Roaster for sale

How great would it be to own a c200 year old Rumford Roaster!  This Rumford Roaster, made by Elijah Fuller of Salem, was originally in an 18th century house in Peabody MA, and was working into the late 20th century; the home was demolished and the oven was saved and installed in a new house. Again removed and stored, the current owner hopes it will be used and appreciated once again.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Chickens roosting in trees


Although there are many images of chicken ladders in Germany through the centuries, HERE I haven’t seen a chicken ladder going into a tree...until recently.  The photo was taken the first two decades of the 1900s on a farm in southern Monroe County, Pa.  In the few writings about the pros and cons of chickens in trees, only one mentioned to "place something" for the chickens to get to the branches.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Robert Roberts - author, abolitionist, butler

Robert Roberts (c1777-1860) was a free African American who wrote the marvelous The House Servant's Directory in 1827. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Bitter butter in winter

Without a steady means of refrigeration, butter could be bitter in the winter if (according to 18th and 19th century sources) ... the milk froze then thawed, the cream was not skimmed off the milk in time, uneven turning of the barrel churn... or if the cattle ate ash tree leaves at "Michaelmas time" (Sept. 29).

Monday, January 20, 2020

Hercules Posey - George Washington's celebrity chef - new news

Five years ago I did a post on this gifted slave who escaped to freedom on Washington's birthday and was never found.  Well, now he has been found, but his image is lost.  The striking portrait by Gilbert Stuart was not of Hercules nor by Stuart.  The "toque" was actually a West Indian headdress. Hercules lived and was buried in New York City and he has dates! 1748-1812

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Twelfth Night waffles of Dutch painter Jan Steen

Instead of a Twelfth Night Cake, waffles were among the holiday's foods in the 17th century, painted by Jan Steen (1626-1679). Click on picture to enlarge